Solzhenitsyn’s spring plans remain unchanged despite his win over More Joyous (NZ) in Saturday’s Caulfield feature, the $400,000, Group 1 David Jones Rose Clinic Toorak Handicap (1600m).
Solzhenitsyn (NZ) scores his first Group 1 under Corey Brown, picture quentinjlang.com
Solzhenitsyn (NZ) sailed down the centre of the Caulfield track to score his maiden Group I victory, handing his trainer Robert Heathcote his second success at the top level, but the top Brisbane horseman would not put the Cox Plate on the six-year-old’s agenda.
Jockey Corey Brown kept Solzhenitsyn (52kg) out of the early speed battle, finding the gelding a comfortable midfield position, while More Joyous worked up the hill at the back of the Caulfield track after being caught three-wide soon after the start.
Nash Rawiller gave More Joyous a breather behind the leader Steps In Time with 10-time Group I winner King Mufhasa (NZ) on her back until the star Sydney mare joined the leader at the 300 metres.
More Joyous’s 60kg handicap began to tell on her at the 200 metres while King Mufhasa also struggled, leaving the lighter weighted runners to fight out the finish.
Solzhenitsyn stormed to victory ahead of the consistent Warrnambool mare Spirit Song (52kg) (Invincible Spirit) and Craig Williams while Yosei (52.5kg) (Invincible Spirit) and Glen Boss ran on well to finish third ahead of More Joyous and King Mufhasa.
The margins were a long neck and long neck with the time 1.35.25 on the Good 3 track and the final 600m in 36.15.
Solzhenitsyn began his career as part of the Richard Otto stable in New Zealand before the son of St Petersburg joined the Heathcote camp but the winning trainer praised his predecessor.
It was the second winner of the programme for Heathcote after Buffering’s dominant win in the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1000m).
Solzhenitsyn (NZ) and Corey Brown sail past the post, picture Sportpix.com.au
“What a thrill, A Group 2 and now Group 1 number two, it’s just awesome,” he said.
“Melissa (Leech, Foreman) is here and the horse is owned principally by Paul Willets, a bloodstock agent in New Zealand and he was too nervous to be here.”
“I started my training career when Paul started his as a bloodstock agent and he bought Buffering for me,” he said.
Willetts paid $11,000 for Solzhenitsyn as a yearling.
“He has got a great eye and he paid double for Buffering at $22,000,” said Heathcote.
“The horse came to me in great order from Richard Otto and he knew that he had a lot of potential.
“The first day I started him he flew home from last and ran fourth and I said to the boys that this is a horse that will be on the front page of the papers one day.
“I inadvertently paid him up for the Cox Plate but the boys said it might be out of our league. We’ll go to the Crystal Mile (Moonee Valley) and then onto the Emirates (Stakes).”
“It’s been a little while,” said Brown after winning another Group 1.
“Full credit to Robert Heathcote and his stable up in Brisbane because they’ve done a great job with this horse.”
“Last time out here it was very leader biased but he had the audacity to run through the line and he was doing his best work late.”
“I had no dramas about him getting the mile because I think it’s his perfect trip.”
“Once we posted the old mare (More Joyous) three wide down the back I knew I had him (Nash Rawiller) covered because I knew he was going to have to burn a lot of petrol with the big weight to get home.”
“I got all the breaks, had no weight on my back and it was good to be back in the winner’s circle.”
“After about 100m, obviously King Mufhasa kicked through to sit outside the leader and once he did that he held Nash and More Joyous. There were a few boys watching to see what would happen because I knew Nash wouldn’t be allowing her to get back and get amongst them.”
“When the pace come off I was forced to go around them and sit outside the lead, which she can normally overcome quite easily, but it was pretty testing out there with the big weight, especially when you’re giving them eight kilos,” said Rawiller.
“I was more than happy with the run,” he added.
Solzhenitsyn is a six-year-old gelding by St Petersburg out of the Victory Dance mare Tri Victory and this was his 11 win from 24 starts. With seven placing he has earned stakes of $598,215 for Willets, J Capo, DJ Gabbedy, LK Nash, Mrs CN Taylor and AR Watkins.